Will Florida ban on texting reduce number of crashes?

Gov. Charlie Crist has endorsed a ban on texting while driving in the state of Florida. 19 states as well as the District of Columbia already have bans on texting while driving for all drivers.

Dialing disaster
Texting while driving poses obvious risks, which any person should be able to admit. However, I’m not sure if actually banning the act will lower the number of texting related crashes.

It has been reported by Car & Driver magazine that a driver has a slower reaction rate while texting than while intoxicated.

This is rather shocking.

So yes, we need to do something about reducing the number of drivers who text, but what officer is going to be able to ticket a deranged texter?
Is the officer going to be able to see the person texting while in a patrol car? Any person with at least a little skill in being sneaky will know that there are so many ways to text while driving and not get caught.

Hopefully implementing a law in Florida that prohibits texting while driving will discourage people from doing so, thus I can see why this bill is being supported. However, many act like it is a solution and will eliminate cell phone related crashes altogether.

The real message here is that the masses need to be educated about the dangers of cell phone use while driving in addition to the ban. Simply prohibiting the act will not reduce related crashes by any signifcant number. Crist appears to be endorsing this bill because it makes him look good, not because he actually cares about the safety of drivers.


Palin’s book fact checked to be full of inaccuracies

Surprise surprise folks, Sarah Palin’s new book Going Rogue goes a little rogue in its accuracy.

Here are some I just had to point out. I cannot believe people actually take her seriously and that she could have been vice president.

From the Associated Press website (which, mind you, is non-partisan): http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_PALIN_BOOK_FACT_CHECK?SITE=OHAKR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT:

PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

So this next one just proves that she has no idea what she is talking about.

PALIN: Says Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the one that appears to be ending now, and “showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all.”

THE FACTS: The estate tax, which some call the death tax, was not repealed under Reagan and capital gains taxes are lower now than when Reagan was president.

Economists overwhelmingly say the current recession is far worse. The recession Reagan faced lasted for 16 months; this one is in its 23rd month. The recession of the early 1980s did not have a financial meltdown. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, worse than the October 2009 high of 10.2 percent, but the jobless rate is still expected to climb.

And this one just kind of makes her seem like a crook.

PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC.

Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.

-A real great read by Sarah Palin’s ghost writer.

Daniel Radcliffe caught smoking pot at party and other marijuana news

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who plays Harry Potter, was caught smoking weed at a party in North London recently. The story is all over tabloids with clever titles like “Harry Pothead, indeed.”

Apparently pictures were taken of him laughing his head off and people from the party say that he was running around the apartment yelling “I love weed” and letting a girl draw a beard on his face.

First of all, why is this news? Who cares if some actor smokes joints? Running around acting silly is far better than going out and getting wasted. The consequences of drinking are far more serious than smoking weed.

We need to move towards legalization in this country. An adult who chooses to smoke a plant that grows from the earth should be able to do so at her own discretion. Check out your area’s local NORML chapter (link at right) and let’s start getting involved.

In 2008, almost 900,000 arrests for the possession of marijuana were made. If smoking weed was at least brought down to a misdemeanor charge, or decriminalization as it’s known, we would decrease the number of people actually behind bars by half! At the end of 2007, there were 2.3 million people in jail. This means that half of the country’s prison population shouldn’t be in there! These people are not criminals, yet we are putting them among the ranks of murderers and rapists.
Just because it is a law doesn’t make it right.

In other good news, the first Americanized coffee house was opened on 4:20 on Friday afternoon in Portland Oregon. It is called The Cannabis Cafe and is open for medical marijuana cardholders to come and smoke with others in a cafe setting. All of the cafe’s marijuana is donated by local growers and is run by the Portland NORML chapter.

New health care reform not to include abortion coverage

In a vote taken by the Democratic House on health care reform, abortion coverage was cast aside as a possibility for funding under the federal health program.

Democratic Rep. of Michigan Bart Stupak said in an interview on CSPAN that if the government health care plan will include coverage for abortion, he and around 40 other members will not vote for the entire health care bill.

This seems a little ironic, as passing a public health care option is a main concern for the Democrats. These supposed Democrats are willing to oppose the entire health reform if, god forbid, funds for abortion will be icluded in the bill’s provisions.

In 1976 the Hyde Amendment was passed by a 207-167 House vote. The amendment states that public funds allocated by Health and Human Services every year are forbidden to be used to pay for abortions.

Every year the Hyde Amendment must be re-authorized and it has been approved every year since 1976.

If abortions are not going to be covered under the federal option, then health insurance companies are probably not going to offer it as most citizens will have the federal option.

How can abortion be legal in this country, yet no federal funding is provided for low income women who need them? It isn’t a total condemnation, yet abortions continue to be unaccessible to poor women.

Let the woman make her own decision for her own body. If she needs the funding, then it should be there at her disposal under a public option.

on the road again…

I like to be on the road.

Principal bans students at Danvers High in Massachusetts from “meep”

beaker-oh-shitGood ol’ high school students; they are forever bucking the system.

The principal of Danvers High School in Massachusetts recently banned students from any utterance or display of the word “meep” on school grounds. “Meep,” according to students, is a reference to Beaker, a character on the Muppet Show.

I cannot help but swell with pride as I read the reports of this meep debacle. As a recent high school graduate, I sympathize with those who are still caged in by arbitrary rules that senselessly limit high schoolers.

I graduated in 2009 and have been through my fair share of struggles with the school administration. It seemed to me that the school officials at Cocoa Beach High School were nothing more than droids taking orders, only capable of spitting out answers straight from “The Handbook.” An example: A friend of mine once wrapped clear tape around his mid-section at lunch and was immediately told to remove it by a dean.
The administrator didn’t tell my friend precisely why the tape was a problem, only repeating in a monotone, “it’s a distraction.”

The friend didn’t remove the tape and was escorted by the school’s resource officer to the Dean’s Office. The whole way he tried to have a real conversation with the officer to try and find out why the tape was so distracting. The only response he could get out of anybody was “it’s a distraction.”

I understand that there are necessary precautions that a school must take to limit the potential hazards that students may pose to one another and to the administration. However, I do not think it necessary to abuse power and make arbitrary rules. “It is distracting” can be used as an excuse for any rule. Schools can ban students from wearing bright colored clothing because “it’s distracting.” Principals everywhere can place a ban on hot men, and hot men would not be allowed to attend school because “they are distracting.”
Implementing a series of arbitrary rules for the sake of ensuring control is called power-tripping.

I have also had to directly battle with the school administration myself. I was told in the ninth grade that my eyebrow ring, (which you could hardly ever see anyway because my hair covered it) was distracting and I had to remove it. I refused and explained why. The piercing held meaning for me and I explained to the dean as to why. I tried having a real discussion with him, saying that I had a 3.5 GPA all year, I never had discipline problems, I didn’t interrupt class, so how could a small piece of metal distract me or any other students?

I was suspended and told I couldn’t come back to school unless I took it out. I returned after my ridiculous suspension with a bright green band-aid over my eyebrow. I had written “Fight oppression” across the band-aid. Most of my clashes with the system were enraging; I could not grasp the sheer mindlessness of taking out an eyebrow ring/removing tape/not saying meep because none of these things were hazardous or detrimental to learning.

Because of this “meep” incident, I have been reminded what it is like to face a high school administration. You are basically made to feel like you’re small and insignificant, and that what you’re doing is merely for attention. This seems counterproductive of a school; suppressing speech and creative idea.

And so, I would like to stress to students everywhere that you are not powerless. You have rights, and they are not shed at the school house gate. Find your own answers and figure out who you are because that is what high school is about. It is about rousing the drones from their slumber and knocking some sense into the sheeple that have become the school bureaucracy. I applaud the students at Danvers High School for putting the pressure on the administration and for seeing the frivolity of the ban.

For some reason it has always been ingrained in me to stand up for myself and to question everything. Question everything because open debate is an essential part of democracy and key to becoming an intelligent person. I am glad these students have caused a bit of a ruckus; it is sorely needed, if for not more than to show how ridiculous and oppressive people can be towards other people.

Continue to stick it to “the man.”